Bill Richardson to Susana Martinez: Start governing

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Bill Richardson

Former Governor Bill Richardson has a message for Governor Susana Martinez:

“It’s time Gov. Susana Martinez stopped running for office and start governing the state she was elected to lead.”

That’s the message he penned in a scathing op-ed in today’s Albuquerque Journal.  The entire thing is worth a read, but in case you are short on time, here’s the short version:

Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson

As the 2015 long session of the New Mexico Legislature quickens into full swing, she trots out the same tired issues of her limited policy playbook: drivers licenses and flunk-the-third-grade-slow-readers. And blame everything bad on the long-gone Bill Richardson administration…

Clearly, the wishes of anti-labor boardrooms rank above working New Mexicans most in need for the governor.

Martinez continues with the same happy-face detachment that characterized her first four years. Anything good is because of her smiling face surrounded with schoolchildren, and everything bad is somehow a carryover from my administration.

Consider New Mexico’s still-stumbling implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Martinez let the politics of “Obamacare” get tangled up in the urgent business of obtaining funding to complete our ACA portal development. In so doing, she bit so hard on the hand she was asking to feed her that it balked.

New Mexico is one of only two states in the country to be denied additional ACA funding for this year. Never complain to a federal agency that you are being forced to ask for too much money.

That’s a reference to our story that a nasty letter from Governor Martinez to President Obama’s Health and Human Services Secretary contributed to the loss of almost $100 million in funding for our health exchange.

He goes on:

Then, there is the matter of the Martinez team’s continuing war on public education and the resulting deterioration of results. Statewide graduation rate slipped to 68.5 percent in 2014 from the previous year’s 70 percent. Perhaps the systemic benefits from my education reforms have tailed off. The numbers are the predictable result from angry, stressed teachers and over-tested students…

Consider the administration’s pre-emption of Indian Day in the Legislature. Traditionally Native Americans’ big opportunity to occupy the big stage to advance their priorities, but this year it featured a speech by the governor instead. I elevated the former Office of Indian Affairs to Cabinet-level status in the first year of my first term. Different priorities.

What takes the prize is the incompetence of the Martinez Administration in their finance projections and their inability to balance their books. The current administration has had four years to resolve accounting issues, if indeed there are issues. But no, they blame the past administration that has been out of office for four years. For an administration with no agenda, this song is getting old…

I’m surprised her administration hasn’t blamed me for the measles outbreak.

The people of this state are caught in a time warp of charade governance with nothing getting done. It’s time Martinez stopped playing politics and instead focused on the real problems of New Mexico and what to do about them.

Predictably, the Journal soft-peddled the headline from this piece. While Richardson make it clear in his first sentence that “It’s time Governor Susana Martinez start governing,” the Journal presents it as more of a suggestion. “Governor could start governing” they say.

You can read the entire letter at